Tag Archives: Theory Of Constraints

Culture Shock & Other Things

Creating change is easy  (ok not that easy, but easier…).  Sustaining change, is hard.

I can cut my hair, quit my job, jump on the wagon, scrap all my systems, decide on new systems, all quite easily.  Sustaining these changes well is a whole different story.

Implementing a new process in to a business I have decided is a whole lot like losing weight.  With a goal in sight and sheer determination just about anyone can lose weight.  It’s exciting seeing the change and the benefit… enough to make the pain worth it.  But once you’ve hit your goal, a lifetime of bad habits and comfort-based behaviours start creeping in.   Before you know it life takes over and we’ve slipped back to what we know best or are most familiar with.  Of course this will at some point cause us to blame the process (or in this example whatever fad diet we got the results with) leading us to select another process – and we’re off again.  Change has to be sustainable.

Change in the workplace is similar.  We have a problem, so we find a solution, implement and often voila! we get results.  But over time we slip back in to our old habits, back to whatever is most comfortable.  My advice?  Don’t ignore the steps required to make change sustainable, and don’t ditch the process when things go a little wobbly for a new, shinier process (unless yours really is awful).  Consistency in an organisation can be a real battle, but one worth fighting, as this is what real growth is built upon.

Failing To Plan

 

 

Planning.  At one stage of my life I was the avid planner, enjoying the planning and dreaming for whatever expedition I was off on next nearly as much as the journey itself.  It used to drive my ex-husband crazy.  To him, planning felt rigid and controlling.  To me, it was dreaming of what could be.

Maybe it was because I realised over time that things never go to plan that I stopped planning.  Maybe it was because ‘winging it’ was always way more fun.  If you wing it for long enough you build a confidence that you can pull anything off, without planning.  That place, is a dangerous place.

I’ve been learning a lot of lessons lately in and around the value in planning.  Really planning.  Thought through, documented, challenged, agreed planning.  The painful kind that takes way too long and is laboriously painful when all you want to do is Get Going.  In capitals.

Yet the planning stage is the time in which you find out if your plan will work, before it costs you time, resource, money, friends, or whatever your half-cocked plan ends up robbing you of.  The planning stage is how you get to the end of the project and everyone has built the same thing.  And completed at the same time.  And they’re still speaking.

Most recently I’ve been spending my time delving in to the Theory of Constraints and Critical Chain philosophies.  Simple, clear cut methods of ensuring that The Goal is always in sight, with each and every member of your team confident in their role in achieving the goal.

In practicing what I preach, I have only just emerged from 2 weeks of project plan hell.  Mainly hell because I skipped the first couple steps around really confirming and documenting scope before beginning to plan, and so began the 47 versions of Microsoft Project plans.  But once we had at last an agreed plan, this past week has been a week of successful execution.  We still have a lot to learn about just what level of detail works best for us, but we’re getting there.   And this is only the beginning.

 

Bottlenecks & Socrates

I was recommended a book called ‘The Goal’ by Eliyahu Goldratt that has transformed how I look at our business.

Goldratt’s book takes his Theory of Constraints and winds it eloquently through a story of a man struggling to save his factory.  The book is a joy to read and comes packed with powerful lessons.

In reading the book I looked back at the business I am currently a part of and questioned not only what are the bottlenecks in our business, but also what is in front of the bottlenecks as the issue also lies there.  The book then introduces the Socratic Method for solving questions and issues, with the protagonist using these same techniques to save his marriage.  So really this is a post on both love and business, as this interesting method of solving problems in life.

If you are still searching for answers on why you can not predict or govern the output of your business, or if you simply are seeking another way to handle a troublesome relationship in any sphere of life, this book may just be for you.